Shortly after a report was carried out by the DNA on Friday stating some Ola investors are planning to sell their stakes to Uber, the Bengaluru-based taxi aggregator denied of its legitimacy. The promoters of Ola, ANI Technologies Private Limited, sent the statement to International Business Times, India on Friday afternoon, saying it plans to initiate a legal action against the English daily and also seek compensation for the damage.
The DNA carried out an updated report dismissing the earlier one, which quoted an unnamed source as claiming all Ola shareholders except SoftBank would sell their stakes. Ola also slammed the publication for the lack of journalistic ethics in its statement.
"We are shocked and dismayed at the lack of journalistic ethics in carrying the story, despite our repeated denial to the reporter and the publication's editorial representatives," the statement sent to IBTimes, India, stated. "We also had received a verbal confirmation that the report shall not be carried given the company's denial."
The publication defended its report saying Ola representatives and spokespersons neither denied nor confirmed the proceedings of the deal and the company's senior director (marketing and communication) did not revert on the matter.
One of the key investors and the managing director of Matrix Partners India, Avnish Bajaj, emphasised on Ola's denial of the DNA's report and assured that it has no intentions of selling to Uber anytime. Bajaj added that Ola has an edge over Uber in India with majority of riders and a sizable market share.
"We can only see the momentum continuing to build in the same direction," Bajaj said in a statement. "We have seen Uber in India reacting to Ola's growth with moves not seen elsewhere globally - be it front page advertising, dramatic fare cuts and rapid and knee jerk changes in categories - so one can only surmise that they are worried about their market share declining. We are clearly in the winning horse with Ola and have no doubts about its future."
Uber and Ola have been involved in an intense competition in the taxi aggregation business. A price war between the two cab-hailing services has resulted in adjusting fares to attract more riders effectively. The companies recently launched new bike-taxis in select parts of India, which is under review by the Road Transport Authority (RTA) for the legalisation of the practice.